Call me a dog, but not a Pakistani: Baloch refugee

balochNEW DELHI: When 25-year-old Mazdak Dilshad Baloch arrived in India a few months ago, he raised the suspicion of immigration authorities at the New Delhi airport. Mazdak had a Canadian passport which showed the place of birth as Quetta in Pakistan.

Mazdak, one of the few Baloch refugees in New Delhi told ET: “I was at pain explaining to the immigration authority that I was not a Pakistani. Call me a dog, but not a Pakistani. I am a Baloch. Because of my place of birth, I faced a lot of harassment.”

The story of Mazdak is similar to thousands of Baloch who have sought asylum in different parts of the world after being hounded by the Pakistan army. Mazdak’s father was abducted, mother harassed and properties damaged.

The family had to seek asylum in Canada where they reside now. Mazdak and his wife are in India to create awareness about the Baloch freedom movement.

They are happy that for the first time in 70 years of their struggle New Delhi has lend open support to their struggle.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi in his Independence Day speech had said: “I want to express my gratitude to the people of Balochistan, Gilgit and PoK for the way they wholeheartedly thanked me, the way they expressed gratitude to me… People of a distant land I haven’t even seen… When they thank the Indian prime minister, it’s an honour for the 125 crore people of the country.”

“My father Mir Ghulam Mustafa Raisani, a filmmaker, was abducted by the Pakistan army and kept in detention in Quetta between 2006 and 2008. My mother is a political activist.

After my father was released my parents left for Canada. Pakistan wants ethnic cleansing in Balochistan. They want Balochs to accept Pakistan nationhood or else they kill us. They have committed genocide in our country,” a distraught Mazdak told ET. The 25-year-old said he fled to Afghanistan in 2010 first.

With the help of United Nation High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) he managed a refugee status and later under the rehabilitation programme migrated to Canada, where thousands of Baloch nationals have found refuge, after a bloodbath that resulted in killings of more than tens of thousands of Balochs.

“We want the Government of India to help form a Balochistan government in exile, like the Tibetans. Every Baloch appreciates what Prime Minister Modi has said. Balochs around the world are working towards forming a government in exile,” Mazdak said.

Speaking about the struggle in Balochistan, Mazdak said his brothers and sisters did not receive proper schooling. “I studied at a school in Quetta. But now the situation has worsened. Pakistan has set up madrassas every 10 km in Baloch and want to brainwash innocent youth.”

“Because there is no education, there are no jobs. A common Balochi can find only menial job. Islamabad has appointed Pakistani Muslims in all important positions in Balochistan. Its army has created a mess in the entire region. The economic resources of our land are plundered. Pakistan has opened the doors for Chinese companies for mining coal reserves and other natural resources,” he said.

Mazdak who migrated to Canada in 2014 said that he was never contacted by any Indian agencies in India or Balochistan.

When asked about Pakistan’s allegations on the involvement of the Research and Analysis Wing (RAW) in Balochistan, Mazdak said, “I am from Baloch and lived there for a very long time there. I have not seen any Indian agent. Nor has anyone contacted me or my family. It is all being done by Pakistan. It is a factory of terrorist.

Islamabad wants to deflect the blame and blame India’s RAW. To my understanding, there has been no support for Balochs from India or Indian agencies in the past 70 years.”

Blaming Pakistan for the mess in Balochistan, Mazdak said, “Islamabad has such a tight grip over the region that even the Pakistan media is not allowed free access to the region. Whatever stories on Baloch is first vetted by the Pakistan Army’s ISPR. This makes it difficult for locals to voice the atrocities committed by Pakistan. It is also difficult to estimate the numbers of army personnel deployed in the region. If India can give details of Army deployment in Kashmir, why cannot Pakistan reveal the figures in Balochistan?”

Mazdak alleged that Pakistan forces indulged in organ trade in Balochistan. “We have seen so many cases and bodies of Baloch nationals abducted, killed and their organs removed.

We have been trying to raise the issue at the international level.”

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